Tammy Lesson 11

Difficulty: Green
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We’ve got Tammy back for her 11th lesson. First off, I have to confess that I had completely forgotten to send over her lesson notes from Lesson 10, so poor Tammy wasn’t able to practice her fingerstyle picking! I promise to do better next time, Tammy!

In her previous lesson, we’d talked a bit about Root 5 and 6 barre chords, Travis picking, and hammer-ons.

In this lesson, we go over:

  • Hammer-ons. We check on Tammy’s progress regarding her finger stretching and finger gym exercises and we see how much her finger strength is improving.
  • Travis picking. We revisit this since I goofed last week and forgot to send Tammy her lesson notes!
  • Percussive hits with a pick
  • Listening! I know…that sounds vague and obvious, but the reason Tammy started taking lessons with me in the first place was to learn how to write songs. There are so many things that go into constructing a tune, but one of the key factors is a good ear.

New Lessons:

  • Transcribing. The more we listen to songs and try to recreate the sounds we hear on our own, the better able we are to hear to a song in our head and play it on our instruments. By identifying common patterns and sounds, we’re building up our mental musical library! It’s great practice for any musician at any level of expertise. I’ve directed Tammy to the Chord Shape Explorer on my site for help with this.
  • Percussive hits with a pick. Tammy starts off saying she can’t do these because her hands are too small! No worries, though. A key part of playing any instrument is finding out what’s comfortable for you, however big or small your hands are!

For Next Time:

  • Tammy is to transcribe two portions of a song – one with more chords and strummy bits, and one with more picked, melodic notes or a riff. I recommend spending an hour or so on this at a time. It’s not really something that works in 5-minute blocks.
  • Choose three songs, determine their chord progressions, and find an alternative way to play the tune using a capo.
  • Work on getting those percussive hits to a point where they feel more comfortable.
  • Continue practicing the hammer-ons with the finger gym exercises. They just need a little more work before we add in some flick-offs!
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